A solid century from opener Devon Smith gave the Windward Islands a solid start against Jamaica Scorpions in the West Indies Championship at Grenada National Stadium on Thursday.

At the close of play, the Windwards stood at 256 for 6 an innings underpinned by a patient 124 off 209 balls from Smith.  The batsman’s stubborn knock included 16 fours and no sixes.  A five-for from the Scorpions Dennis Bulli limited the damage somewhat as he ended with figures of 94 for 5.  In fact, with Smith’s obstinance to contend with, it was Bulli who claimed wickets at regular intervals and accounted for the entire top order. 

Smith’s opening partner Taryck Gabriel was the first of his victims as he was trapped lbw for 10 after facing 61 balls.  The pair Tyrone Theophile and Kirk Edwards, who next up at the crease, fared even worse off as they were consecutively bowled for eight runs each, having faced a total of 32 balls. 

Kavem Hodge then joined Smith at the crease and the pair put on 144 for the fourth wicket.  From a strong position of 205 for 3 the Windwards experienced a setback when Hodge was dismissed by Chadwick Walton for 56 and Smith, the victim of the brilliant Bulli, followed two overs later.  Alick Athanaze meekly two overs after adding a single run before being caught by Kenroy Williams off the bowling of Bulli.  Dennis Smith (36) and Sherman Lewis (16) will return as the not out batsmen.

Mark Wood has been called up to the England Test squad for the series against West Indies as a replacement for fellow paceman Olly Stone.

Windies cricket analyst Fazeer Mohammed insists it would be difficult to argue against recently recalled batsman Darren Bravo’s spot in the squad, based on merit, due to the lack of quality options available to the regional selectors.

The 29-year old batsman has been called to the team ahead of the Test series against England, his first inclusion in a regional team for the game’s longest format in two years. 

Having been out of the game for an extended period, Bravo, who boasts a Test average of 40, would hardly have had a recent record of form to recommend him to the squad, having only played one match in the ongoing West Indies Championship. 

Following a disastrous tour of Asia, however, a board of selectors looking for changes and experience could hardly be expected to pass over the talented batsman.    

“He has justified it on reputation not performance, as far as first-class cricket is concerned,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“If you use the yardstick of having played a lot of first-class cricket to confirm your spot it would be difficult as he has only played the one match for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force the previous weekend,” he added.

“The fact of the matter is that the cupboard is pretty much bare when it comes to West Indies cricket at the moment and therefore you would have expected changes following the embarrassment in India and Bangladesh.”

Bravo ran afoul of the regional body in 2016 after calling Cricket West Indies boss Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ in a tweet.

Olly Stone will be sent home from England's tour of the West Indies after suffering a stress injury in his lower back.

Out-of-favour batsman Darren Bravo is set to rejoin the Windies Test team for the first time in two years having been selected for the upcoming series against England.

The 29-year-old Bravo has often been considered one of the region’s most promising prospects in the game’s longest format, an area that has seen the team struggle mightily in recent years.  Bravo, however, ran afoul of the cricket board in 2016 after a tweet that called CWI president Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ surfaced on his Twitter profile during a contract dispute.

Following talks late last year the way was clear for the player to return to the unit and was recalled to the Windies one-day squad but was yet to be included in the longest format. 

Bravo is expected to be joined by debutants John Campbell, a 26-year-old left-handed opener from Jamaica, and Shamarh Brooks, the former West Indies Under-19 captain. 

Windies chairman of selectors Courtney Brown insisted on the back of disappointing tour of Bangladesh that the time was right for changes with the series coming up on home soil.

"After a difficult Test Series in Bangladesh late last year the opportunity presents itself for our team to pick itself up," said Brown.

 "Although a tough series against England is anticipated, home turf has always been a place where our team has made strides."

Windward Islands Volcanoes were dealt a late blow in their desperate bid to force a result against defending champion Guyana Jaguars, when experienced batsman Devon Smith was sent packing in the West Indies Championship at Providence Stadium on Saturday.

Smith had looked set after putting together a patient 65 from 128 balls but was dismissed in the 44th over of the day after a tight bowling spell from Romario Shepherd.

Beginning the day at 4 for 63, the Windward Islands managed to post 210 all out, thanks in huge part to Alick Athanaze’s determined 66 from 114 balls.  The Volacanoes were, however, left some 243 runs short of the Jaguars first innings total of 459 for 9.

Forced to follow-on, things looked bleak for the Windwards when opener Taryck Gabriel (16) was dismissed after being caught by Anthony Bramble off the bowling of Sherfane Rutherfod.  Smith was, however, joined by Cato at the crease and two put on 75 runs for the second wicket to give the Volcanoes some hope before Cato was caught, again by Bramble, off the bowling of Keemo Paul.

Smith was then joined by Kirk Edwards at the crease, but the pair only managed 28 for the third wicket, before Bramble took another key catch.  This time it was the dangerman Smith off the bowling of Romario Shepherd.  Edwards (40) and Kavem Hodge will begin the fourth day at 167 for 3 and the Volcanoes still trailing by 76 runs.  

 

A measly four-for from pacer Keemo Paul left the Windwards Islands Volcanoes runs chase in tatters on day two of the West Indies Championship at Providence Stadium.

Resuming the day in a strong position at 307 for 6, Tagenarine Chanderpaul went on to score his second first-class century to anchor the Guyana Jaguars eventual tally of 452 for 9.  Romario Shepherd, who opened the day at the crease with Chanderpaul, made a healthy contribution of his own, going on to score 72 as the two partnered to make 121 for the seventh wicket.

In response to the daunting total, the Windwards were in early trouble after losing the typically obdurate Devon Smith in the 10th over after he was caught by Griffith to become Paul’s first victim. 

Next, at the crease, Roland Cato made 14 off 15 deliveries before himself being caught by Griffiths off Paul and Kirk Edwards endured an identical fate to leave the Volcanoes struggling at 4 for 63.

Kavem Hodge would be Paul’s final victim, as he was dismissed without scoring after being gobbled up Anthony Bramble.  Paul ended the innings with figures of 4 for 24.

Alick Athanaze (25) and Dennis Smith (3) will resume the day as the team’s not out batsmen.

A sizzling century from middle-order batsman Anthony Bramble put Guyana Jaguars in a strong position against Windward Island Volcanoes in the West Indies Championship at Providence Stadium on Thursday.

At stumps, the Guyana Jaguars were 307 for 6 off 90 overs, with Tagenarine Chanderpaul (71) and Romario Shepherd (5) the not out batsmen at the crease.  Earlier, Bramble slammed 168 from 151 balls in an innings that included 6 sixes and a remarkable 17 fours.

The Jaguars found themselves in early trouble after Trenton Griffith became the first of Josh Thomas’ three wickets.  Next, at the crease, Leon Johnson only lasted six balls and made 5 runs before being sent back to the pavilion when he was caught by Kavem Hodge off the bowling of Sherman Lewis.  Shimron Hetmyer joined Chanderpaul at the crease and added 26 runs before being caught by Devon Smith off the bowling of Ray Jordan.

Bramble then joined Chanderpaul at the crease and the pair put on 209 runs for the fourth wicket.  The partnership ended when Bramble was caught by Smith again off Thomas. 

Thomas ended with the Volcanoes best figures after claiming 3 for 62.  Sherman Lewis and Ray Jordan both claimed one wicket each.

Retired Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has lamented a lack of opportunity to make a bigger impression at the international level.

The 35-year-old called time on his international career last year, following a 12-year stint with the regional team.  At the time of his retirement, the Trinidadian native had, however, not played Test cricket since 2010 or an ODI game since 2014.  In T20 international’s Bravo had fared a bit better playing his last match against Pakistan in 2016.

During his playing days, Bravo was among a group of senior players that often found themselves at odds with the regional governing body (then WICB) and infamously captained the team that abandoned the tour of India in 2014 over a wage dispute.

The player, however, continued to play T20 League cricket going on to be considered as one of the best all-rounders in the world.

“I could have achieved a lot in international cricket, but it was cut short.  I am happy that I was able to represent West Indies at the international level.   Not too many people get the opportunity to represent their country,” Bravo said.

 “I am fortunate enough to have been a part of the West Indies set-up for more than 12 years.  I enjoyed every moment of it.  I haven’t achieved much (at international level), having not got too many opportunities.  Such is life.  There are some things you don’t have control over.  But my career went on and my brand developed even bigger without playing international cricket because I was able to play around the world and fans welcomed me.”

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd believes more regional players should be given a chance to lead the unit in the wake of the appointment of Englishman Richard Pybus to the post.

The 54-year-old former director of cricket and head of the high-performance centre was appointed to the position on an interim basis last week.

 According to Cricket West Indies, (CWI) Pybus will oversee the upcoming series against England and this summer’s ICC World Cup campaign.  Despite the position being announced as temporary, the former Pakistan and Bangladesh coach was selected ahead of several former West Indian players that had shown an interest in the post.  Among them was former opener Desmond Haynes.

 “I heard about it but I thought they were quite a few names put forward and I think somebody had said that Desmond was one of those names,” Lloyd told the popular cricket radio show, Mason and Guests.

“What I would like to see in the future of our cricket that people like Gordon Greenidge, who has coached all over the place, and Desmond Haynes [given a chance]. These guys know about cricket and our cricketers and they are not getting a chance to show what talents they have, and I think it is about time we start to do something of that nature,” he added.

 “We’ve tried a lot of overseas coaches and we’re still at number eight [in Tests] and number nine [in one-dayers].”

West Indies fast bowler Fidel Edwards will limit himself to the just red ball cricket next season, having rejoined Hampshire for the County Championship season.

The 36-year-old fast bowler, who signed a new one-year contract with the club, previously appeared in all three formats last season.  In first-class matches, Edwards took 54 wickets in 14 appearances at an average of 26.72 and claimed 4 wickets in just two matches at an average of 31 in One Day Cup bowling.

 In the Vitality T20 tournament, Edwards had 3 wickets in 3 matches with an average of 41 and an economy rate of 10.25.  The player will be entering his fifth season with the club where he signed as a non-overseas player and played under the Kolpak ruling since 2015.

Director of cricket Giles White welcomed the player, who he has labelled as a versatile option, back to the team.

 "His pace adds variety and offers something different to our attack," White said.

 

Windies players hoping to gain selection for the regional team will have to meet a new fitness benchmark set by Cricket West Indies (CWI).

In a bid to match international standards, players will now be subject to the Yo-Yo Endurance Test.  The move follows the recommendation of the board’s sports medicine and science team.

The test consists of a commonly used endurance metric method developed in Denmark by football physiologist, Dr. Jens Bangsbo.  The test evaluates an individual's aerobic endurance fitness. 

Grave, who explained that the implementation of the test was geared towards overall performance improvement, explained that it would have an immediate impact on player selection.

“Player fitness at elite international level is a key ingredient of successful teams. To maintain and improve fitness standards, the CWI Board has now set a benchmark standard that is tied to eligibility for selection, using the Yo-Yo Endurance Test following the recommendation of our Sports Medicine & Science team,” said Grave.

“It has also mandated that this benchmark must be achieved for players to be eligible for selection to the squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales. The CWI Board has also agreed that any exceptions would be subject to its approval through its medical panel.”

Opener Montcin Hodge crafted an entertaining half century that left Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the ascendency against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on day three of the West Indies Championship, at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Sunday.

Beginning the day at 149-4, Red Force were eventually dismissed for 252 still some 173 runs short of the Leewards massive first innings total.  Overnight batsman Jeremy Solozano was dismissed soon after the resumption, managing to add just two runs to his overnight total of 78.

In chase of the big total, the Leewards batsmen lost wickets at regular intervals with only Denesh Ramdin(31), Brian Charles (39) and Joshua Da Silva (19) offering any further resistance.  Rahkeem Cornwall was the most of the Leewards bowlers after claiming figures of 4 for 73.  Alazarri Joseph also had had some success with the ball after claiming 3 for 8, while Jeremiah Louis captured two.

In their second time at the crease, Hodge fired an unbeaten 77 off 127 balls as the team with Cornwall adding 22 from 23 as the Hurricanes made 168 before declaring.  Shannon Gabriel was the pick of the bowlers the second time around for T&T after claiming 3 for 35.  In response, the Red Force were 26 without loss and needed 316 to win on the final day.

 

 

A four-for from Guyana Jaguars spinner Veerasammy Permaul severely hampered the efforts of Barbados Pride as they struggled in pursuit of a humungous first innings total on day three of the four-day West Indies Champions on Sunday.

At stumps, despite battling half-centuries from Shane Dowrich and Johnathan Carter, Barbados Pride were well short of the total and were all-out for 360, still, some 188 runs short of the Jaguars 548. 

The Pride began the day looking to solidify the innings, following the previous day’s loss of opener Shayne Mosely.  Kraigg Brathwaite and Shamar Brooks put on a partnership of 73 runs but the team was soon in trouble again.

 It was Brooks (34) who would become the first of Permaul’s four victims after being caught by Leon Johnson.  Brathwaite (43) followed did not stay long after and followed five overs later after being bowled by Clinton Pestano. 

With the typically reliable Roston Chase, next to bat, managing to add just one run to the total before being gobbled up by Johnson, again off Permaul, the Pride looked in real danger at 123 for 4.

Carter, who had 68 off 107 balls and Dowrich (81 off 113), however, came together to form the base of the Pride resistance as they put on 131 for the fifth wicket.  Permaul again figured prominently in both dismissals, bowling Carter and catching Dowrich off the bowling of Sherfane Rutherford. 

Barbados captain Jason Holder (44 from 87) and Jomel Warrican (23 of 35) added late runs to push the Pride score, but the team will have its work cut out on Monday’s fourth day.  Permaul ended with overall figures of 4 for 124, with Raymond Reifer and Pestano claiming two wickets each.

Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John Williams claims the organization has taken steps to clear outstanding match fee amounts due to members of the country’s national team.

According to reports, members of the country’s national squad have considered taking strike action ahead of upcoming friendlies to protest months of non-payment of fees. 

Several players claim they had been owed match fees since the October 2017 World Cup qualifier against the United States.  In addition, they also claimed John Williams and members of the association proved elusive in addressing the issue.

With the twin-island republic expected to play Wales next month in their next friendly, however, John Williams has insisted the organization is making significant steps to resolve the dispute.

“TTFA has begun to pay the players.  We have around three games outstanding for them now.  Over the past week we have paid them for three games,” Williams said.

“There is no secret that the TTFA has serious cash flow problems and that is due to the fact that we have been paying debt accrued by previous administrations,” he added.

The president explained that the issue had arisen after the organization failed to claim expected funds.

“We were expecting some inflows by 15 December, unfortunately, that did not happen but we expect the inflows in the next 10 to 15 days and we will deal with the matter.”

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